“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits--
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.” Psalm 103.1-5
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, it is our Lord Jesus who gives more than we can think of or imagine….more grace and truth: “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:14)
… He gives us more than just wine: On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman,what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.”And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” (John 2:1-11)
…and He give us more than just our fill of the loaves: “11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”
15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself…
25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”
(John 6:11-15, 25-27). In his name, we are sent out to a world without, that all may know Him and the fullness only He provides.
To help us consider our mission, and offer ourselves to Christ, Jane Sandeberg Guinness, a missionary to China in the early 1900’s, wrote "The Great Without"
"A great without has been written upon heathenism.
Men and women are toiling without a Bible, without a Sunday,
without a prayer, without songs of praise.
They have rulers without justice and without righteousness;
homes without peace; marriage without sanctity;
young men and girls without ideals and enthusiasms;
little children without purity, without innocence;
mothers without wisdom or self-control;
poverty without relief or sympathy;
sickness without skillful help or tender care;
sorrow without any to bind up the wounded hearts;
sin and lying and crime without a remedy;
and worst of all, death without hope."
Let’s pray: Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for giving more than we can think or imagine: more grace and truth, more than just wine, more than just our fill of the loaves… thank you for giving us yourself in Jesus Christ. Repent me and my congregation of waiting for someone else to give Jesus to those without. Here am I Lord, send me… in Jesus’ name, amen.